“I love these shoes!” My four-year old daughter exclaimed as she pulled out the neon orange Vivobarefoot Primus from the shoe box. She ran them over to me to slip them on and once they were on, she refused to take them off, even for bedtime.
My son, at seven, was equally excited. The Primus he had were colored by a nine-year old from Wales; a mixture of blues, greens, and yellows.
I was happy my kids were as excited as I was for them to experience minimalist shoes. When they were little, they always wore the soft-soled shoes from Stride Rite. But the older they got, their shoe options became harder, less flexible, and with more cushion. We spent a lot of time in shoe stores bending shoes in half to see if there was any give.
My son, over the last year, had several complaints about his legs and feet hurting, especially after long walks, hikes, or short runs. My daughter also had a habit of running and tripping, building up a decent collection of boo-boos.
We have another kid who is 15 months who still has the chunky baby feet. It’s still in that development phase where cartilage is developing into bone; slowly creating the best foundation for his tottering, wobbly body.
If you looked at each of them walking in their respective footwear, you’d easily see their progression as modern footwear attempted to shape their feet instead of letting them grow and develop naturally. My son, in his hiking boots, has a long stride with a heel strike. My daughter overcompensates, lifting the heel of her shoe off the ground and walking on her toes. The youngest walks with his full foot on the ground, rolling through it from the toes to the heel.
There’s a lot of benefits to having our feet move as naturally and as unrestricted as possible. As our kids’ bodies grow, being barefoot or in minimalist footwear promote increased strength and agility. There are mental benefits, as well. Given the biological makeup of the foot, there is a ton of information (over 200,000 neurotransmitters) that is being communicated to the brain. The more we feel, the more work our sensory receptors are doing, which leads to better coordination and balance and decreasing risk of injury.
I’ve been a fan of Vivobarefoot for a number of years (more coming in an upcoming blog post), and I was excited to have my kids experience their shoes. My kids have several pairs to choose from, but they have chosen to wear their Vivobarefoot shoes exclusively since they received them: to school, to playgrounds, on walks and hikes, and just around the house.
Both kids have the Primus model, and I am really impressed with the design. First off, they look awesome. The colors are eye-catching and the design is really cool. While doing pickup at my son’s elementary school I’ve had several parents comment on them.
The uppers are designed with a breathable mesh, but even in winter, their feet are comfortable and happy. The sole is thin, but puncture resistant. They can feel the ground, but, as parents, we don’t have to worry about their feet getting hurt by rocks or sharp twigs.
The shoes fit great with plenty of room to grow. Because of their design, I don’t feel bad if they are wearing a shoe that is perhaps a half-size too big. There’s a stretchy elasticity that cups the ankle. This keeps the foot secure, but at the same time completely flexible, allowing there to be optimal, non-restrictive movement.
Watching these kids run around in these shoes make me really happy. Not just because I know that their feet will grow stronger, but because they are joining me on this minimalist journey.
My son hasn’t complained about his legs hurting.
And my daughter still runs full tilt down our street, but hasn’t tripped and fallen, which for her is unusual.
They’ll definitely be wearing these on our next Huck Adventures family hike.
If you’re interested in checking out Vivobarefoot, please visit their website: https://www.vivobarefoot.com. They have a whole section dedicated to Wild Kids that’s worth checking out, especially if you have wild kids yourself.